Saturday, September 25, 2010

Difficult people

How should I deal with a difficult colleague I was asked recently

The party in question informed me that her work place is a creative and competitive environment, and everyone is, for the most part, encouraging and supportive.
Then she went on to say
"After some recent changes I am finding one of my new colleagues very difficult.

She is disruptive, controlling and creates an unpleasant atmosphere.

When our boss is not around she will be rude and agressive

She has problems when anyone else has a good idea or suggestion

She also likes to undermine me in front of my colleagues

When the boss is around though she is obsequious and oh so polite and stops her unpleasant behaviour

This makes me dread going into work where before I  used to enjoy my work

No one can be sure who she will turn on next or who will be put down

So what can I do"?

Firstly many companies have these sort of people and they are to be found particularly where the compnay is competitive or going through changes

And or in companies where times are difficult or stressed

The bully is often inadequate and during times of change can feel threatened by those she feels are more capable or popular than herself

Basically you have three choices leave, try to ignore it, or fight back

You said you don't want to leave, and as you have asked what you can do it is clear you do not want to ignore it

This leads to the steps you can take to address this issueFacing up to your colleague means making sure that you are prepared
Keep a note of things that she has said or done, with the dates, times and places

Find support from your friends and family

Once you feel you have enough examples of her behaviour meet her alone and face to face.

Pick a time and place where you will not be interrupted

Remember bullies are usually cowards and do not like open discussion or face to face meetings 

They bluster, often lie very smoothly and distort the truth, so be prepared
Have your meeting when you are feeling calm and have time to talk properly.

Tell her clearly what she has done and why you find her behaviour unacceptable.

Give her the chance to reply, which will often be a lengthy denial or even a refusal to respond

Then tell her how you want things to change and what you will do if they do not

Let her know that you would prefer to be colleagues rather than adversaries

Should things not improve, and be clear about this, then you will make a formal complaint to your boss
Allow enough time for her to show her reaction to your conversation and also continue during this time with your notes of events and her behaviour

If her behaviour does improve for the better, then show a positive reaction.
If there isn’t a change, do what you threatened to do and go to your boss.

Should your boss not do anything, then file a formal complaint.

It will not be easy or comfortable but this is what bulies play on that no one will confront them face to face

That said you will not feel good now that you have come this far if you do not confront her

Go for it

Good luck!

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